Monthly Archives: June 2014

Fifteen Minutes

Mommy Guilt is a very real thing.  We moms feel guilty about everything when it comes to our kids:  how much TV they watch, what they ate, how they were disciplined, and my least favorite, did I spend enough quality time with them that day?  At the end of some days I think back to the day and wonder if I even played with the kids at all.  I know that I was in the same house or on the same playground with them, but did I actually spend any time with each child?  Did I look them in the eye and do an activity that meant something to each child? Did each child feel loved or special at some point during the day?  It is amazing that I can spend twelve hours with the same three people, but not actually spend any “quality time” with them.  It seems like this would be such an absurd thing to wonder, but it is not.  If there was only one child each day, I don’t think that I would even contemplate this question.  Having three means that they entertain themselves most of the time.  I am there to make sure that no one gets hurt and that nothing gets broken.  Having three also means that I clean more, cook more, do more dishes, and referee more.  While the kids are playing and tearing up the house, I typically do my chores and if we are at the playground then I get to chat with a girlfriend while the kids play.  I am still with the kids, but not WITH the kids.  Make sense?

I have finally found a way to assuage some of my guilt about not spending quality time with each kid each day.   I have come to the realization that what each child really needs, and I need, is fifteen minutes of time together.  I get to spend fifteen minutes of one-on-one time with each child doing whatever it is that they choose to do.  The kids don’t know that I am doing this, but I think that it makes me feel better and it gives them some special time during the day with mom.  It may sound kind of weak that I am only spending a total of 45 minutes of quality time with my kids each day, but I can’t even start feeling guilty about that!  Some days are better, some days are worse and somedays I am a rockstar mom that can have fun with all three at the same time and be fully engaged in whatever it is that we are doing.  However, if I am not having a “rockstar mom” day, then fifteen minutes is just what we all need.

Here are some examples 15 minutes of fun with mom:

-I played the Ladybug Game with Wilson on Saturday.

-I played the “rainstorm” game with Miller this morning.

-I let Faith braid my hair over and over again the other night before bed.

-I played on the playground with Miller on Saturday.

-I read with Wilson before bed last night and then told him stories.

Those are all of the examples that I can come up with right now, but it is a work in progress.  I don’t beat myself up when it doesn’t happen each and every day, but I think that it is something to be aware of and aim for.  I love my children and think that they are fun and sweet individuals.  I want to enjoy my time with them collectively and individually.  Collectively is what happens during the twelve hours a day that we are together.  Individually is what we get in fifteen minute intervals throughout the day.  Honestly, I think that this is an accomplishable goal and something that will go a long way in the life of our family.



Green necklace

There are two types of necklaces to be earned at the YMCA pool.  The first one is the yellow necklace. To earn this the kids have to swim half way across the pool and float for just a few seconds.  Both kids earned this necklace last year and were allowed to swim in the shallow water alone.  The next necklace is the coveted green necklace.  This is a much harder necklace to earn and one that every child wants to have around their neck.  This necklace allows you to go anywhere in the pool by yourself and lets you go down the two watersides.

Both of the kids are pretty good swimmers, but they couldn’t tread water for the required minute.  Because Tom was an All American swimmer growing up, he is in charge of teaching the kids to swim.  They also go to him to learn and then listen to what he has to say.   Because we have been going to the pool so much over the last few weeks, Faith has really gotten better.  On Saturday morning we went to the pool at 10:00am after Wilson’s sports class.  Faith and Tom practiced her treading water for many hours.  At 2:00pm she decided to take the swim test.  She did amazing!  She swam better than I have ever seen her swim.  She swam the full length of the pool by herself.  She rested for a few minutes and then treaded water for one minute.  Her little feet and arms were moving so fast in order to keep her head above water.  The life guard that was giving the test told her to slow down or else she was going to be too tired to finish.  I don’t think that she could have slowed it down.  She is so tiny that she must have needed to move fast in order to stay up.  It was actually really cute.

She passed the test.  I was so proud of her I almost cried.  There aren’t too many goals that six year old have set for themselves yet.  However, this was a big one for Faith.  She wanted that necklace.  I seriously don’t think that she has taken it off since she earned it.  It is a bragging right.  Here is my little swimmer…



New York City

So many people have been asking me how my trip to New York City was this week. I tagged along on toms business trip and had two full days to myself in the city. Here are some deep thoughts and high notes….

I could have been in any major city in the world. Loud, busy, and lots of dirty store fronts. I saw a US post office and thought “weird. Wonder why there is a US post office here? Oh yeah. I am in NYC. ”

The 9/11 memorial is impressive. Beautiful. It was sad to think that some visitors were tourists, but others were there to honor a family member or friend.

The Water taxi was a brilliant idea! It was cooler on the boat, I could sit down and I could see the city and Statue of Liberty clearly. I also was able to gain a better perspective of the location of the city and it’s surrounding Burroughs. Luckily I had planned ahead and bought a Groupon for the hour boat ride. Go Groupon!




All of the New Yorkers I met were very friendly and helpful.

It was hard for me to sit down relax. There were so many things that I could be doing and seeing. I felt I HAD to do them.

Biking in Central Park was unnecessary. You can only bike on the outer loop, not through the park. The tour bus could have driven me there and I then could have walked from the stop. Live and learn.

The Met was worth the stop and the view from the top was breath taking. I spent about an hour admiring famous painters and their works. I am not big on artifacts but the paintings alway impress me.

I have no idea how people drive through the city. It is crazy and the cars never end. I decided that they don’t get into accidents because they are all driving too slow.

I decided that since I was a seasoned traveler I would try the subway. I walked down to the subway and bought a ticket. It was crazy down there! I went through the turnstile, looked at a map and then asked somewhere what train I should take. I still couldn’t figure out where the heck I was going! I just turned around and walked up to the street again….after finding the right exit. Lol. I would have ended up in Brooklyn.

Although it was a busy two days, I really enjoyed getting to do something fun and unusual. I love to travel and go on adventures. It was exactly what I needed. I hope to go back again soon.

Comedy Zone

After the rough week that I have had, I decided that going to the Comedy Zone was just what I needed.  I called Sidney and Michaleh, found a sitter for the kids, and off we went to the Comedy Zone in Charlotte.  I had been there once before and loved it.  How often do you get to sit and laugh for an hour or two straight?  Almost never.  Tonight the headliner was Ryan Hamilton.  He was very funny.  Here we are with him after the show.



He reminded me a lot of Seinfeld.  They looked the very similar and they even talked similarly.  His bit had to be at least an hour long.  After it was over we all realized that his whole show was free of profanity and sex jokes, which is rare in the comedy world.  It was so very refreshing.  At one point I looked at Michaleh and she was crying because she was laughing so hard. It was such an enjoyable night. I really needed a little bit of comic relief and a night out.   I am so glad that I was able to spend it with these two girls.  Here we are before the show started sharing our giant margarita….


Easy come, easy go

As wonderful as last week was, this week has been as challenging as that week was enjoyable. Tom is in Chicago this week and was supposed to be home Wednesday. Now he won’t be home until Friday night. My wonderful, loving children have become sassy, back talking, and ungrateful. And to top it off, my Grandma died unexpectedly this week. It has not been a very good three days.

Tom being out of town, I can handle. I am somewhat used to it and can find things for us to do in his absence. What I don’t know what to do with is the kids and their bad attitudes. The meaner I become, the worse they act. I actually gave Faith a spanking today because she lied to me twice in two days. My new punishment for them is that they have to clean something. This week Faith has cleaned the bathroom, her room and picked up the living room. I figure I might as well make the punishment something that benefits me. I am not sure how effective it is as a punishment, but I do know that they hate to clean up.

I had the Youngs kids sleep over Tuesday night which was a great distraction and made my life a bit easier. Funny how having five kids here is easier than three.

I am thankful that they were here that night because that is when I received the call that Grandma Madeline had passed away. I was shocked and then very sad. She was 85 years old but no one thought that she would be leaving us anytime soon.  It has definitely made me more distracted and grumpier than usual.  This has also caused me to be on the phone more while I talk and text to figure out the plans for the weekend.  I am sure they didn’t like me on the phone ,kids should be respectful whether I am on the phone or not.  Especially while I am on the phone.  I guess it is similar to when Tom and I are arguing about something.  The kids begin to act out of line so that we will stop the “discussion”.

Today I decided to go against my natural instincts to hide and be grumpy with their behavior and my situation.  I decided to take the kids to the park, play with them and give them the attention that they are probably craving.  As usual, when I joyfully accept my role as mother, maid and caregiver I am happier with my life and my job.  Today it was the same way.  The day went more smoothly , the kids behaved better, and I was a happier Mommy.  I prayed for joy this morning and I put a smile on my face even when I didn’t feel like it.

Now I have three more hours to go until the babysitter arrives and I head out for a girls’ night at the Comedy Zone.  This will be a much needed break.

Grandma Madeline

On Tuesday night, my dad called to say that my Grandma Madeline had died in her sleep. To say that this past week was difficult and sad would be an understatement.  I thought for sure that I would have at least another five years with her.  Although the last few times that I said “good bye” to her I would cry thinking that it could be the last time that I saw her.   My grandma Madeline Manning was a wonderful and loving Grandma.  She was amazing.  She loved a good laugh and she loved me and my family.  Everytime I called her she would hang up by saying, “I love you, Hon! Now take care.”  Whenever I was in the room with her I always felt loved and important.  I loved to go and visit her.  The last time I went to visit I took Faith with me for the day.  After lunch I was very tired.  Grandma told me to go take a nap while she played with Faith.  She and Faith played for almost an hour and a half while I slept on her bed.  She always kept a trunk full of toys for the great-grandkids to play with when they visited.  When I told Faith and Wilson that she had passed away they immediately said, “But she was so fun.  She gave us ice cream and she had all of those toys.”  I am glad that that is how they will remember her.  She wanted to be fun and she naturally was.

My parents are southern and so was Grandma.  I am spelling her name “Grandma”, but it is really pronounced “Grandmal”.  When I was little I really thought that there was an “L” on the end of her name.  I guess it is actually supposed to be a “w”, as in “Grandmaw”, but Doug and I always thought that is was “Grandmal”.  That is how a good southerner pronounces a Grandmother’s name….Grandmal.

Grandmal is also where I got my original nose from. It was hers. I thought that she wore hers a bit better though.  I after I got mine done, I kind of felt like I was insulting her by changing it. I don’t know if she ever noticed that I changed it, but if she did, I hope she wasn’t insulted.  I think it would be hard to insult her.  She was always so encouraging and rarely had an unkind word to say about anyone.  That just was her nature.

Grandmal was originally named Madeline Hayworth.  She didn’t have a middle name.  As the youngest of seven siblings she always said that her parents just ran out of names and didn’t bother giving her a middle name.  Might be true.  The Hayworth family is a silly lot of people, my dad, his siblings, Doug and I included.  We laugh at sad life situations and have a knack for turning everything into a joke.  It is how we deal with grief and many other life situations.  For years we have been laughing about putting our names on her things so that when Grandma died we would inherit anything that had our name on it.  Well……when I was at Grandma’s 85th birthday party I went into the bathroom and had the realization that she had been using the same hamper in her bathroom for over 30 years, maybe longer.  I told Alan that I wanted that hamper when she died and he said, “Go put your name on it!”.  He did convince me to put on the bottom of the hamper, in permanent marker, “Property of Becca Dressler.”  hahaha.  Crazy right?!?!? That hamper reminds me more of visiting my Grandma’s house over the span of my lifetime than anything else that she owns.  A hamper!  Well, needless to say, the hamper is mine.

Here is my Grandmal and her kids at her 85th birthday party this past March….



At the funeral yesterday we all laughed and told Grandma stories.  Her children decided that it would be fun to write on the casket with permanent markers.  It was like signing a yearbook.  Everyone wrote messages to her, drew pictures, or wrote silly saying.  It was very unconventional, but that is how we Wilson’s role. Always pushing the envelope of proper etiquette.  Here is what that signing looked like…..




I told my friends that Grandma’s funeral would probably be one of the most fun funerals that anyone could attend.  It was fun.  I have a very fun, loving, and large family.  Many people throughout the day commented on how blessed we were to have such a loving and supportive family.  The Hayworth family as always been tight knit group and that has been passed down through the generations.  Grandma was one of those that encouraged this behavior and it showed.

Now that the funeral is over I am still sad that she is gone.  The day was such a distraction.  I could barely keep it together when I first arrived at the church.  I am a great suppressor and can distract myself from what is really going on around me.  Arriving at the church and seeing the coffin was almost too much for me to handle.  As the day wore on, I settled into the reality of her death, but distraction took over.  It was very overwhelming.  Today as I reflect on yesterday’s event, I am still very sad.  It seems unreal that I went to Greensboro to my Grandma’s funeral.  I realized that this is the first person to die in my life that really meant something to me,  Who’s death affects my life directly.  I am very lucky to say that this didn’t happen until I was 41 years old.  I will miss her always.  Family events won’t seem the same from now on.  I guess a new “normal” will come to exist.  I loved Grandma very much and I will always miss having her in my life and having her unconditional love for me and my family.  She was ready to go to heaven.  She quietly went in her sleep to be with her brother, sisters, husband and Jesus.  On the coffin my dad wrote, “The Package has gone home.”  Grandma was “the package” for many years as she was driven and delivered to parties and family gatherings by Sandra.  Well, now she has finally been delivered to her eternal place of joy and comfort.  She has been delivered to eternity with God in heaven. For that, I can rejoice.

Alcohol and Caffeine

As many of my friends and family know, I like to have one cup of half-decaf coffee in the morning and one alcoholic drink at night.  Do I need to have those each morning and night?  Probably not, but I enjoy having them.   It is part of my routine and it makes me happy.  Unfortunately, one of these two things has been making me very tired by about 1:00pm everyday.  Every afternoon I am so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open.  While at the beach I took an hour nap each afternoon.  Many of the days that I am home with the kids I have to rest for thirty minutes just to make it through the day.  At first I blamed it on having three kids, constantly moving around and getting older.  But after church last Sunday it hit me….maybe one of these two things is the culprit.  Either the alcohol is not allowing me to sleep well at night or the small amount of caffeine in the morning is making me crash by the afternoon. (I was secretly rooting for the caffeine)

I decided that I needed to go cold turkey on both of these two things to see if there were any changes in my energy level.  Amazingly enough, there was a change.  On Monday and Tuesday I didn’t feel tired during the afternoons and I didn’t take a nap.  Doug came over for dinner on Wednesday, and of course, I had to have a cocktail with him.  I decided that having a drink was worth the risk so that I could determine if it was the coffee or the alcohol.  Guess what?  I wasn’t tired on Thursday either. I have had a drink other nights since then and have not been tired to the point of exhaustion the next day.  It seems that caffeine was causing all of my troubles.

Ever since I have had children I have been very sensitive to caffeine.  I remember drinking a Diet Coke two years ago on my way to tutoring a girl in math.  By the time I was half way through the tutoring session, and almost done with my Coke, I felt sick and couldn’t finish tutoring her.  I seriously couldn’t focus on the question and then use my brain to find the answer.  I was useless.  I haven’t had a Coke since.   Somewhere along the way I have eased my way into having a large mug of half-decaf coffee each morning.   I can tell when I have had too much coffee, but I never thought that it would make me tired hours later.  It seems silly to drink only decaf coffee, but I will be drinking it from now on.  I guess it really isn’t the caffeine that I look forward to in the morning, but the warm, sweet coffee that washes down my peanut butter and honey toast.  The two of them together make a delicious pair.  :)

It’s funny how we do things everyday out of routine.  We are all creatures of habit.  Every once in   a while it’s good for me to stop doing these habits just to switch things up and to see if they are hurting me or helping me or are neutral.  It felt good to stop watching TV for a month.  It now feels good to not drink caffeine in the morning.  During Lent I enjoyed not having my drink every night.  Stopping habits can also help me know if I am addicted to these things or just enjoy doing them.  Can I actually stop?  They say that habits can be broken within two weeks, especially if you replace an old habit with a new one.  I would say that for me, most of my habits are just psychological.  I just like a good routine.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Is there anything in your life that you are doing that you need to take a break from?  Maybe not, but it may be fun to switch up a few things… for fun.